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Microsoft quarterly profit soars on cloud services

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Microsoft reported net income of US$8.8 billion on revenue of US$29.1 billion in the quarter that ended on September 30, up 34 per cent and 19 per cent respectively from the same period a year earlier.

[SAN FRANCISCO] Microsoft on Wednesday said its profit in the recently ended quarter soared on the back of revenue from services hosted in the internet cloud and its career-focused social network LinkedIn.

Microsoft reported net income of US$8.8 billion on revenue of US$29.1 billion in the quarter that ended on September 30, up 34 per cent and 19 per cent respectively from the same period a year earlier.

Shares in the Redmond, Washington-based technology giant were up 4.75 per cent to US$107.18 in after-market trades that followed release of the earnings figures for the first quarter of its fiscal year.

"We are off to a great start in fiscal 2019, a result of our innovation and the trust customers are placing in us to power their digital transformation," Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella said in a release.

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"We're excited to help our customers build the digital capability they need to thrive and grow."

Mr Nadella has lead a transformation at Microsoft from a company focused on software installed on machines in homes and businesses to making money from services hosted on the internet and available from a broad array of devices regardless of who makes them.

"Our record results for Q1 reflect our commitment to long-term strategic investments and consistent execution to drive revenue growth and operating margin expansion," said chief financial officer Amy Hood.

"We see continued demand for our cloud offerings, reflected in our commercial cloud revenue of US$8.5 billion, up 47 per cent year-over-year."

Money taken in by a productivity and business processes unit rose to US$9.8 billion, including strong growth in cloud-based Office productivity products aimed at consumers and companies, according to Microsoft.

LinkedIn revenue grew 33 per cent in the quarter, with the career-oriented networking service boasting record levels of engagement by users.

Microsoft's cloud platform Azure, which performs computing and storage for companies at online data centers, saw revenue grow 76 per cent.

Azure is pare of a Microsoft "Intelligent Cloud" division that, overall, reported revenue up 24 per cent to US$8.6 billion.

Microsoft, maker of Xbox consoles, also saw revenue from gaming hardware, software and services jump 44 per cent.

The company said it returned US$6.1 billion to shareholders during the quarter in the form of dividends or share buy-backs.

AFP